Eee PC using BigPond Wireless

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Eee PC with Telstra Turbo Modem (USB3-8521 MM-BP3USB)


What's New?

This page documents early investigations into the "new" 3G modems, but these days Linux distributions have all this built in, so you only need to know this stuff if something doesn't work and you need to figure out why.

Since all this work was done, the Linux distributions have been busy making this so much easier.

As an example, Ubuntu 9.04 recognises these modems when they are plugged in, and the NetworkManager application is launched to configure them.

How to connect to the internet using a Sierra Wireless AirCard 880 U or a Maxon BP3-EXT or BP3-USB modem on an Asus Eee PC. This may also work for other computers, not just Eee PCs, if you run Debian, Ubuntu, or Xandros.

2008-09-02 version 1.5

Eee PC BigPond Wireless Support Package

This works by connecting to the internet as soon as you plug in the modem, and disconnecting when you pull the modem out. It needs a little bit of setting up, and remembers your username and password on the laptop.

  1. open the xterm program by typing Ctrl/Alt/T, (or if you are using the Advanced Desktop mode, type Alt/F2, then konsole and press Enter),

  2. add this repository to your package resource list, type
    sudo kwrite /etc/apt/sources.list
    and press enter,
    ... wait for the package resource list to appear on screen, then add the following new line to it:
    deb ./
    save the file (Ctrl/S), and exit the editor (Ctrl/Q),

  3. type
    sudo aptitude update
    and press enter,
    ... there will be a delay as the package lists are downloaded, (if this does not work because you don't have internet on the laptop already, then see the
    via USB key page)

  4. type
    sudo aptitude install eee-bpw
    and press enter,
    ... you will be asked if you want to continue, and when you say yes you will see a "WARNING: untrusted versions of the following packages will be installed!", and it is up to you at this point whether you wish to trust me,

  5. there will be a delay as the package is downloaded and installed,

  6. type
    sudo bpwconfig
    and press enter,
    ... you will be asked for an APN, or access point name,

  7. enter the access point name, using the exact spelling, and press enter
    ... you will be asked for your username,

  8. enter your username, taking care to use the format if the modem is bound to the BigPond Wireless Broadband service,

  9. enter your password, twice
    ... if you type it differently the second time you will have to start bpwconfig again,

  10. press enter to accept the default number to dial, and the default automatic dialling,
    ... the program will update the configuration and finish,

  11. disconnect your other internet connections,
    ... the network tray icon should change to Not connected,

  12. plug in the modem,
    ... after about seven seconds the connected LED on the modem should begin to flash, and another four seconds later the network tray icon should change from Not connected to Connected,
    ... see the next heading if this does not happen,

  13. test with
    or a web browser.

Doesn't Work?

The above worked for me. It might not work for you if I haven't planned for something unusual in your environment. I'd like to fix my program to handle whatever you have which is different.

Here are some suggestions for finding out why it doesn't work:

  1. open the xterm program by typing Ctrl/Alt/T,

  2. use
    sudo bpwconfig
    to turn off automatic dialling,

  3. unplug and plug in the modem again, (this stops the current automatic connection attempt, without doing this the next step will fail),

  4. type
    sudo bpw debug dump > bpw.log
    and press enter, this will try a connection again, and record some details into the file bpw.log which you can then review, or include in mail to me, (take care, it reveals your username to me, you can edit that out),

  5. type
    sudo bpw-test > bpw-test.log
    and press enter, this will record some configuration details into the file bpw-test.log which you can then review, or include in mail to me,

  6. if during the sudo bpw debug dump test you get a message Modem hangup one possible cause is that the username and password the modem was registered for is different to the username and password you are trying to use now, (the modem has a design flaw in that it claims early on that authentication was successful, even though it hasn't actually done it yet),

  7. if you are trying this some days later and you have heard there might be a new version, check for the new version by repeating the aptitude update and install steps above.

How does it work?

There are some very experienced people out there who would like to know how it is meant to work, so that they can check every step of the way.

  1. the fastinit program calls /usr/sbin/ during boot,

  2. the /usr/sbin/ script checks /etc/fastservices for a list of /etc/init.d/ services to activate, /etc/fastservices is normally empty on a factory install, but this package adds bpw to it during the postinst install script,

  3. the /etc/init.d/bpw script is started, which loads the option module and then instructs it to adopt the modem if it is seen on the USB bus,

  4. when the modem is plugged in, the kernel calls udev to advise user-space of the new device,

  5. the udev rule file /etc/udev/rules.d/99-bpw.rules matches against the USB product and vendor and the device name, and starts the /usr/sbin/bpw script,

  6. the /usr/sbin/bpw script reads the /etc/bpw.conf configuration file and starts pppd to make the internet connection,

  7. when the modem is unplugged, pppd receives a hangup event from the kernel, and closes down the internet connection.

Get Involved

Quozl welcomes contributions. Get involved. If you see a problem on this page, tell him. If you want to make the software better, or fix a problem with it, use darcs to get the source from the darcs repository.

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